How 1917 Changed The World : A Centennial Commemoration Of The United States Entrance Into Wwi

How 1917 Changed The World : A Centennial Commemoration Of The United States Entrance Into Wwi

NEW YORK, NY (March 16, 2017) — On April 6, 1917, the United States formally declared war against Germany and joined the Allied efforts in the first World War (WWI), making that year one of the most significant of the century in redefining the world order,while further strengthening the long-time French-American partnership that remains as important to this day.

In late March, the Cultural Services of the United States French Embassy will kick off“How 1917 Changed The World: A Centennial Commemoration Of The United States Entrance Into World War One,”a major cultural and educational year-long initiative highlighting the 100th anniversary of this critical year of change. The impressive slate of programs —underscoring the organization’s commitment to share the memories and stories with present and future generations— will also focus on the significant cultural impact of the Great War. The Cultural Services of the French Embassy is committed to offering a multitude of narratives to keep the stories of World War I alive, from generation to generation.

“As the events happening this year demonstrate, the friendship between the United States

and France has been both central to the preservation of democracy around the world and a driving force behind a long, remarkable history of cultural and artistic creativity,” said Cultural Counselor of the Embassy of France to the United States Bénédicte de Montlaur. “It is our honor to remember the sacrifices made by American soldiers, while celebrating the enduring bond between France and the United States that has helped shape our world over the last hundred years, and calling attention to the extraordinary happenings of 1917 – arguably one of the most pivotal and impactful years in history.”

From jazz to avant-garde art, silent film and modern literature, 1917 was a time of extraordinary cultural exchange on both sides of the Atlantic.How 1917 Changed the Worldwill present a full slate of events, including exhibitions, conferences, concerts, screenings, and performances, highlighting America’s pivotal role in changing the course of history, and the strong relationship between France and the U.S. for over 200 years, since the Revolutionary War. The extensive docket of programs will explore the U.S. participation in the “war to end all wars,” and the resulting innovative perspectives and artistic performance that re-energized art, culture, and the humanities. One of the key elements will salutethe contributions of the African American community to the war effort – including 370th Infantry Regiment,an exhibition at the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago focusing the onlyall-black regiment that was drawn from the Illinois National Guard; and a conference series at the University of Alabama examining the overlooked conditions of African-Americans during World War I in France.

Other highlights from the How 1917 Changed The World:Centennial Commemoration of the United States Entrance into WWIprograms include:

In New Work:

· Monday, March 27-7:00 pm ET: Albertine Books, which serves to foster French-American exchange around literature and the arts,will host a free discussion Artistic Revolutions and the Great Warwith Yale historian Jay Winter, jazz expert Philippe Gumplowicz, Surrealism and French literature specialist Mary Ann Caws; Adrian Sudhalter, Art Historian, curator and a specialist in European art between the World Wars along with France-born artist MelikOhanian, winner of the Prix Marcel Duchamp 2015. The guests will examine the artistic and literary revolution of 1917, and the continuing impact of these events in the present with a particular focus on how artists deal with issues of war and collective memory. The event will be live-streamed on

· Thursday, March 30-5:00 pm and Friday, March 31-8:30am ET: Columbia University will host a free conference entitled America in a Time of War: City, Economy and Politics in World War I and After with French Ambassador Gérard Araud and several guest lecturers including Volker Berghahn, Ian Buruma, Kenneth T. Jackson, Robert Jervis, Lisa Keller, Paul Kennedy, Rebecca Kobrin, Jack Levy, John Maurer, JörgNagler, Michael Neiberg, Mary Nolan, Susan Pedersen, Adam Tooze, Ross Wilson, and Jay Winter.

· Wednesday, April 5 through September 2017- Open daily 10am-6pm: Exploring the singular role played by the City of New York as a center for Allied propaganda and the representation of patriotism in art for a mass audience, the Museum of the City of New York’s exhibition Posters and Patriotism: Selling World War I in New York will feature posters, flyers, magazine art, sheet music covers, and other mass-produced images dating back to the Great Warwith most being exhibited for the first time.

· Wednesday, April 5-6.30pm – The Museum of the City of New York will host a conversation, Propaganda by Design, with leading graphic designers, Seymour Chwast, Laurie Rosenwald, and Paula Scher, moderated by Donald Albrecht, co-curator of the exhibition, to discuss a selection of rarelyexhibited propaganda posters and consider parallels in the world of graphic design and illustration today.

· Wednesday, April 5-7pm: In homage to Paul Wittgenstein—the concert pianist who lost an arm in World War I and commissioned piano concerti for the left hand alone— musicians will perform at Le Poisson Rouge, Le Tombeau de Couperin (1917) by Ravel, a piece dedicated to Ravel’s friends who died in battle, and Suite pour 2 violons, violoncelle et piano op.23, a piece commissioned by Paul Wittgenstein.

•Thursday, April 6–7:30pm: A free screening of the silent film Wings, which won the 1929 Oscar for best film by director William Wellman, will be shown at the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), set to a live US premiere performance of the musical score by Baudime Jam featuring France’s Prima Vista Quartet. Presented  to commemorate the centennial of the United States’ April 6, 1917 entry into World War I, the romantic anti-war film stars Clara Bow and the legendary Gary Cooper in a cameo appearance.

Around The Countery:

· Running now through January 2018: The Great War is Georgia’s Warat the University of Southern Georgia’s Georgia Southern Museum in Atlanta brings alive stories of Georgia’s soldiers, civilians, training camps, and communities and the state’s unique role hat changed Georgia and the world in important and lasting ways

· Thursday, April 6: The exhibition Anne Morgan’s War. American Women Rebuilding France, 1917-1924 opening on April 6 at theAtlanta History Centerwill feature fifty photographs and a montage of silent films on the life of  a small team of American women volunteers who devoted themselves to relief work in France during and after World War I

· Friday, April 8-Sunday, April 16:The Wings screening and concert presentation will go on tour, starting in Kansas City, MO and then visit Chicago, IL, April 9; Washington, DC, April 11; St Louis, MO, April 14; and Minneapolis, MN, April 16

· Tuesday, April 25: La MaisonFrançaise in Washington, D.C. will screen The Great War: Animated Memories

· Monday, May 1 & Tuesday, May 2:L’oreille de Proust (Proust’s Ear), a performance of text and music, will tour the East Coast. A selection of text by Proust will be juxtaposed to music by some of the author’s favorite composers including Debussy and Fauré.

Other events throughout 2017 in arts and education that are part of the French Embassy’s Centennial:

o In fall 2017, a University Road Trip will be organized for six young researchers from France specializing in World War I where they will discuss with their peers and PhD students about their latest research. Each will start their journey in a key U.S. city including Boston, MA; New York, NY; Raleigh, NC; Washington, DC; Chicago, IL; and Kansas City, MO, where wrap-up experiences, events and conferences will be open to the public

o La MaisonFrançaise in Washington, D.C. will screen two additional films related to WWI, including Un long dimanche de fiançailles, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeuneton May 9, and Adama,directed by Simon Rouby on May 23. In addition, a special concert of contemporary music and jazz from WWI by The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” will complement a screening of Les Americans dans la Grande Guerre and a special reception at La MaisonFrançaise in Washington, D.C.

o From November 2017 to March 2018, the DuSable Museum of African American History will present the exhibition 370th Infantry Regiment in Chicago.  Drawn from the 8th Regiment of the Illinois National Guard, the 370th Regiment fought for France during the First World War. It was the only regiment composed exclusively of black soldiers. The exhibition will trace the history of this regiment

o A panel discussion on Literature and War, will be presented  mid-November at Columbia University, focusing on the theme of literature and World War I.  The discussion will involve leading French and American specialists.

o An ambitious project, Marcel Proust’s World War I Letters: A Digital Edition, organized by the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign will gather and translate and digitalize nearly 300 letters by or to Marcel Proust’s related on WWI. The website will feature a crowdsourcing component inviting students and members of the public to contribute translations of the letters into English.

“Through these granting and research projects we have developed with partnering universities throughout the United States, we hope to encourage the history and untold narratives of World War I are shared with younger generations,” said Cultural Counselor of the Embassy of France to the United States Bénédicte de Montlaur.

More events might be added throughout the year. For a complete list of events and details of the yearlong celebration, please visit

Presented by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy with support from The French Mission du centenaire de la Première Guerre mondiale, in charge of the World War One Centenary in France. This program isendorsed by The U.S. World War One Centennial Commission as a commemorative partner, which recognizes commitment to educating the public about World War One and honoring those who served.

The Cultural Services of the French Embassy promotes the best of French arts, literature, cinema, digital innovation, language and higher education across the U.S. Based in New York, Washington, DC and eight other cities, the Culture Services brings artists, authors intellectuals and innovators nationwide. It also builds partnerships between French and American artists, institutions, and universities on both sides of the Atlantic.